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The People of Afghanistan, Social Problems

Blood feuds, fatherless children, banditry, Taliban, famine

A variety of social ills are common in Afghanistan, such as poverty, interethnic strife, inequality of women, and widespread thievery, kidnapping, and banditry. Blood feuds handed down through generations are legendary, and revenge is regarded as a necessary redress of wrongs. The civil war strengthened these tendencies to the point where little travel was safe in the country without an adequate supply of money to buy safe passage. The civil war killed, wounded, and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. Water, telephone, and sewage systems were destroyed. Years of war have separated and impoverished extended families that traditionally cared for widows and fatherless children. Now many are left to fend for themselves. Some provinces began experiencing famine in the 1990s, and diseases of malnutrition began to be reported for the first time in decades. Traditional Afghan custom, which was revived by the Taliban and other fundamentalist rebel groups, imposes limits on women’s activities outside the home. In 1996, after the Taliban came to power, the United Nations reported a series of 21 new ordinances governing the behavior of women in Afghanistan. Women were prohibited from working outside the home, attending school, wearing perfume, participating in sports, and walking outside the home without the escort of a male relative. Women were reportedly stoned to death for infractions, a practice that had been suppressed for decades.

Article key phrases:

Blood feuds, fatherless children, banditry, Taliban, famine, civilians, civil war, kidnapping, perfume, Afghanistan, infractions, provinces, sewage systems, tendencies, revenge, escort, poverty, United Nations, generations, safe passage, limits, death, sports, series, power, Water, school, country, point, telephone, decades, practice, Years of war, widows, time, home


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